Extending Gratitude to CarpentryCon 2020's Task Force

Organised in six subcommittees, this Task Force is doing great work ahead of CarpentryCon 2020

The Carpentries’ CarpentryCon Task Force exists to organise and deliver the next CarpentryCon - a remarkable global assemblage of Carpentries members and friends. The Task Force started working together on January 22, 2019 and has not looked back! Our major planning milestones have answered these questions; the what, when and where? We are focusing on Growing inclusive, computational communities and leaders, between 29th June and 1st July 2020, at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, United States. But beyond this answer, in the planning process, we ended with two top venues, leading to the inception of the annual CarpentryCon cycle from bi-annual, and a planned venue for CarpentryCon 2021 to be a pass-on baton to the next Task Force. Next year’s CarpentryCon has achieved a lot in the planning this year led by Christina and Ouso.


A big thank you to Alfred P. Sloan foundation for giving us funding that has made it possible to plan for CarpentryCon 2020

Organising a conference requires harmonisation of numerous moving parts and the need for persons with various skills to work out the symphony. It takes time and resources, however, the best asset is passion, which has glued together awesome people from different backgrounds and geographies, with and without experience, into the CarpentryCon 2020 Task Force.

Many people have contributed - from writing blog posts to chairing subcommittees, to developing new materials - and we could not have done it without them! These people are: Aleksandra Nenadic, Anne Fouilloux, Bianca Peterson, Christina Koch, Cody Hennesy, Daniel Kerchner, Elizabeth Wickes, Elizabeth Williams, Gabriel Salubi, Jesse A Lambertson, Jessica Upani, Marco Chiapello, Mina Zamani, Ouso Daniel, Rohit Goswami, Sarah Stevens, Sateesh Peri, Serah Njambi Kiburu, Shaily Gandhi, SherAaron Hurt and Silvia Di Giorgio. Fotis Psomopoulos, Malvika Sharan and Mark Laufersweiler have also been very instrumental, especially in the early stages of the Task Force, with their experiences as the Task Force members of the inaugural CarpentryCon in 2018. For detailed Task Force members’ roles, visit our CarpentryCon website).

Here are some stand out moments from the Task Force subcommittees so far:


The website committee worked very hard to put together a totally new, fancy website for CarpentryCon – check it out here. The idea of this new fancy website came from Serah Njambi Kiburu and we are so grateful. Before that, we had plenty of discussions about the style of the CarpentryCon website but never really took the initiative to move forward and change it. Thanks Serah! Beyond setting up the website, the subcommittee has enjoyed working together so much that they decided to jointly submit two session proposals for the CarpentryCon 2020 programme. Aleksandra Nenadic has done a great job leading the Website subcommittee. She does a wonderful job leading the meetings. She has done a lot of the work herself but is also great at delegating and setting deadlines.


The program subcommittee has been very busy this Fall - putting together forms to solicit keynote speakers and session proposals - and developing rubrics to evaluate what sessions would be the best fit for our conference theme. It is a lot of work behind the scenes to put together a great program that will provide great learning and networking opportunities when the conference arrives. We also identified an awesome event website manager, Sched, which has been effective in program scheduling and also be useful in conveniently capturing other event needs.


Sarah Stevens’ involvement in the Task Force has been phenomenal! As co-chair of the local subcommittee, she and Christina Koch are working with a Self-Organised local team of the Carpentries members and enthusiasts in University of Wisconsin, and continue to provide context, recommendations and bookings that are meaningful for our planning. Thank you so much Christina and Sarah!


Like the program committee, these folks are always busy! Without this committee, nobody would know about CarpentryCon! Thanks to all of the members for writing blog posts, tweets, and generally getting the word out. Special mention of Serah Njambi Kiburu whois always helpful with reviewing content and scheduling them for release on various platforms to ensure everyone is informed and in time. We are deeply appreciative of Mina Zamani, our subcommittee co-chair. She is from Iran, and despite all the communication challenges she faces in plugging in on platforms such as Slack, Zoom etc, ,Mina has consistently found ways to participate in Task Force and subcommittee meetings. Thank you Mina!


This subcommittee is awesome! None of the committee members have a lot (if any!) financial expertise, but everyone shows up excited to figure it out (and we have quite a bit of fun at the same time). As staff liaison to this subcommittee, I (Elizabeth Williams) really appreciate this team because a larger amount of the financial/legal work for an event takes place near the beginning of planning, and this team had to hit the ground running! This is what the CarpentryCon Budget subcommittee has accomplished in the last few months:

  • Developed a conference sponsorship model that follows a unique format and naming scheme, thanks to Daniel Ouso for leading this work!
  • Created a budget tracking workflow for all CarpentryCon subcommittees - it is difficult to keep track of expenses, especially while spending is happening at the same time as funds are coming in, but we have established communication with all the other subcommittees to make sure our event stays on budget!
  • Designed a conference sponsorship packet to allow community members to reach out to potential conference sponsors - why confine CarpentryCon 2020 to our networks? This subcommittee came up with and implemented the idea of empowering all community members to reach out to their networks for sponsorships with only a few clicks!
  • Considering accessibility, equity and inclusion from the beginning. The money has a way of showing what is prioritised, and this subcommittee has worked with CarpentryCon’s Accessibility Subcommittee from the beginning to make sure that the conference financially prioritises and supports this community’s values.

Without any financial experience, I really love to work in the Budget subcommittee. I learn a lot from everybody else and what I appreciate the most is the welcoming support of those who have more experience (Carpentries staff!) and more financial expertise. Elizabeth is awesome because she always has an answer to every single question we have. Sher! is so supportive and encourages the entire team to move forward. Thank you!


Thanks to Gabriel Salubi, for doing what needs to be done to keep accessibility tasks moving forward - doing research, developing forms and writing emails. We would also like to thank Silvia Di Giorgio, who contributes not only on this subcommittee, but two others, and is always willing to help.

An additional thank you to those outside the Task Force who have provided invaluable ideas and support in identifying accessibility issues and resources. Special thanks to Auriel Fournier, whose twitter thread soliciting ideas about conference accessibility was an inspiration and to Kalin Kiesling for great suggestions about rustling up local childcare options.

Beyond the subcommittees, as co-chair of the Task Force, Christina Koch appreciates the entire Task Force for their flexibility in meeting times - there have been some late-night meetings, especially for Shaily Gandhi India and Rohit Goswami and other members in Europe and Africa and then (on the other side), early morning meetings for Elizabeth Williams in California. Your flexibility in meeting times and your good cheer and agreeableness even at odd hours is seen and appreciated.

And a final #greenstickies to Jesse Lambertson and Cody Hennesy, our fearless note-takers that responded to our call for participation in recent months! Having someone take notes at most of our Task Force meetings has allowed everyone on the Task Force to participate more freely in discussions.

More on CarpentryCon 2020’s Task Force

To stay on top of CarpentryCon Task Force news, keep an eye on the official CarpentryCon 2020 website, the CarpentryCon twitter page, and/or blog posts to the Carpentries blog. Website: https://2020.carpentrycon.org Blog: https://2020.carpentrycon.org/blog/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/carpentrycon

While the Task Force itself does not need any new members, we definitely need the community’s participation and feedback in these aspects of the conference, in order to make it as community-centred and useful as possible:

  • Submit a session proposal: https://2020.carpentrycon.org/blog/call-for-proposals/
  • Share your accessibility concerns: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScbkeqYcb9ANFfkuoqrG4qhNTLqAnO3aYckiMgtPxWXcYQ7vg/viewform
  • Help us design CarpentryCon 2020 t-shirts: https://github.com/carpentries/conversations/issues/22

You can always contact us at carpentrycon@carpentries.org with questions or suggestions!

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